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Video excerpt from SAL/UER workshop on racism at the Global Climate Action Summit

Draft Program on Climate Change, for your comments (updated March 5, 2019) (short version now available)

 

Dear RCers,

Seattle this morning (and for much of the last two weeks) is blanketed by a thick cover of smoke, blown in from wildfires in British Columbia, Canada and eastern Washington.  Hundreds of wildfires are burning through our forests. Years of hotter temperatures and droughts mean that there are more dead trees (from infestations of insects that thrive in warmer temperatures, insufficient water, and too much heat), so fires start more easily and burn rapidly.  Higher temperatures and less snowmelt (the glacial cover in the mountains is disappearing) mean the soils here are drier than usual, and our dry season is longer than usual—also increasingly the likelihood of wildfires, more intense wildfires, and a longer wildfire season.

Wildfires also result in flash-flooding, which we saw last year in California, as the loss of vegetation and inability of burned soil to absorb moistures means that when rains do come, the water flows off the hills instead of being absorbed.  

Wildfires in western North America have been increasing in frequency and duration since the mid-1980s.  And as the world continues to warm, wildfires are projected to become more intense and the wildfire season to lengthen.  The results we see here are loss of lives, forests, homes, air pollution, and higher and higher costs for fire prevention and suppression. People here are being warned to stay indoors and those with breathing difficulties to take precautionary measures.  Yesterday two of my co-workers circulated information about how to filter the air and protect our lungs.

Despite scientific studies and reports linking wildfires to climate change, that understanding has not reached the general population. A group I am part of did a small poll just last week and found that people in Washington (a state that has a better understanding than most of the U.S. about climate change) are not linking the fires to climate change.  Most media stories about wildfires don’t mention climate change and our president blames the fires on the Park Service and environmentalists.

I would like to hear your stories of the impacts of climate change that you see around you—how it is impacting the people around you and the land you live on.  Personal stories always help increase people’s awareness.  

With love,

Diane Shisk


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00